B-161758, JAN. 12, 1968

B-161758: Jan 12, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

ALTHOUGH MEMBER WAS NOT ISSUED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR USE OF COMMERCIAL VESSEL FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO U.S. BECAUSE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTION HE WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR RETURN BY COMMERCIAL AIR. KEARNS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8. YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM ACTIVE DUTY WITH USARMIS. YOU WERE REIMBURSED IN THE SUM OF $70 FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL FROM WEIRTON TO FORT LAUDERDALE. CONTENDING THAT YOU WERE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR TRAVEL IN THE AMOUNT OF $973 FOR YOUR OCEAN TRAVEL PLUS PER DIEM ABOARD SHIP AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES OF $38.78. YOU WERE ALLOWED $71.40 FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL FROM WEIRTON TO FORT LAUDERDALE. IT BEING STATED IN THE LATTER SETTLEMENT THAT SINCE YOU WERE TRAVELING IN AN UNACCOMPANIED STATUS YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED COMMERCIAL AIR FROM SANTIAGO.

B-161758, JAN. 12, 1968

TRAVEL EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - COMMERCIAL V. CARRIER DECISION SUSTAINING CLAIMS DIVISION DISALLOWANCE OF CLAIM OF MASTER SERGEANT FOR RETURN TRAVEL FROM CHILE ON COMMERCIAL VESSEL INCIDENT TO RETIREMENT. ALTHOUGH MEMBER WAS NOT ISSUED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR USE OF COMMERCIAL VESSEL FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO U.S. BECAUSE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTION HE WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR RETURN BY COMMERCIAL AIR, AND THEREFORE MEMBER WHO RETURNED BY COMMERCIAL VESSEL MAY ONLY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSE NOT TO EXCEED COST HAD THE GOVERNMENT FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION.

TO MR. NORMAN L. KEARNS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1967, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 19, 1967, WHICH ALLOWED $264.68 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR TRAVEL FROM SANTIAGO, CHILE, TO FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, INCIDENT TO YOUR RETIREMENT AS MASTER SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY.

ON JUNE 7, 1965, WHILE ASSIGNED TO U.S. ARMY MISSION, SANTIAGO, CHILE, YOU EXECUTED AN APPLICATION TO BE RETIRED ON NOVEMBER 30, 1965, AT SANTIAGO, CHILE. BY PARAGRAPH 275, SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 255, DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 1965, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM ACTIVE DUTY WITH USARMIS, CHILE, ON NOVEMBER 30, 1965, AND RETIRED EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 1965, AT SANTIAGO, CHILE. THE RECORD SHOWS YOU HAD MORE THAN 20 YEARS OF SERVICE. FROM DECEMBER 4 TO 22, 1965, YOU TRAVELED FROM VALPARAISO, CHILE, TO NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, BY COMMERCIAL VESSEL AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, THENCE TO WEIRTON, VIRGINIA, VIA MONTCLAIR AND TRENTON, NEW JERSEY, DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 22 TO 24, 1965. YOU SELECTED FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, AS YOUR HOME UPON RETIREMENT AND YOU AND YOUR WIFE WHO HAD BEEN RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE PRIOR TO YOUR RETIREMENT TRAVELED FROM WEIRTON TO FORT LAUDERDALE, SEPTEMBER 9 TO 12, 1966.

ON JANUARY 10, 1967, YOU WERE REIMBURSED IN THE SUM OF $70 FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL FROM WEIRTON TO FORT LAUDERDALE, AND $264.68 FOR YOUR TRAVEL BASED ON COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR COMMERCIAL AIR FROM SANTIAGO, CHILE, TO MIAMI, FLORIDA, PLUS MILEAGE TO FORT LAUDERDALE. YOU RETURNED BOTH CHECKS, CONTENDING THAT YOU WERE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR TRAVEL IN THE AMOUNT OF $973 FOR YOUR OCEAN TRAVEL PLUS PER DIEM ABOARD SHIP AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES OF $38.78.

BY SETTLEMENTS OF THIS OFFICE DATED APRIL 19, 1967, YOU WERE ALLOWED $71.40 FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL FROM WEIRTON TO FORT LAUDERDALE, AND $264.68 FOR YOUR TRAVEL, IT BEING STATED IN THE LATTER SETTLEMENT THAT SINCE YOU WERE TRAVELING IN AN UNACCOMPANIED STATUS YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED COMMERCIAL AIR FROM SANTIAGO, CHILE, TO MIAMI, FLORIDA, AERIAL GATEWAY NEAREST TO YOUR HOME OF SELECTION, AT A COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $263. THEREFORE, REIMBURSEMENT WAS LIMITED TO THAT AMOUNT PLUS MILEAGE FROM MIAMI TO FORT LAUDERDALE.

IN YOUR PRESENT LETTER YOU QUESTION THE AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR YOUR TRAVEL. YOU DISAGREE WITH THE STATEMENT THAT YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION FROM SANTIAGO SINCE YOU BELIEVE THIS WOULD HAVE CONSTITUTED A VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH M4158, SUBPARAGRAPH 2, OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT ADVANCE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE TO THE SELECTED HOME UPON RETIREMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED. YOU STATE THAT PARAGRAPH M4159-4 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT WHEN TRANSPORTATION VIA GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT OR VESSEL IS NOT AVAILABLE THE MEMBER WILL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL AS SET FORTH THEREIN. YOU CONTEND THAT SUCH TRANSPORTATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND SINCE YOU WERE PRECLUDED FROM COLLECTING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IN ADVANCE, TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS LIKEWISE WERE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE OCEAN TRAVEL. YOU FURTHER CONTEND THAT UNDER PARAGRAPH M4159-5-B-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THERE ARE ONLY THREE APPROPRIATE PORTS OF DEBARKATION, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, OR NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, THAT THE ONE NEAREST YOUR HOME OF SELECTION WOULD APPLY AND THEREFORE YOU WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION TO MIAMI. ALSO, YOU SAY THAT THE STATEMENT THAT YOU WERE TRAVELING IN AN UNACCOMPANIED STATUS HAS NO BEARING ON THE MATTER SINCE A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE SAME POSITION.

IN A PERSONAL VISIT TO THIS OFFICE YOU AGAIN STATED THAT BOTH YOU AND THE ACTING TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT SANTIAGO, CHILE, INTERPRETED THE PROHIBITION IN PARAGRAPH M4158-2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AGAINST ADVANCE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL TO HOME OF SELECTION AS PRECLUDING THE USE OF A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR OCEAN TRAVEL AND REQUIRING YOU TO TRAVEL AT YOUR EXPENSE. AS A RESULT OF YOUR CONTENTION IN THIS RESPECT WE REQUESTED THE FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, TO OBTAIN A STATEMENT FROM THE ACTING TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT U.S. ARMY MISSION, SANTIAGO, CHILE, AS TO WHETHER IT WAS HIS OPINION THAT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS COULD NOT BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR YOUR OCEAN TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES. IN REPLY, THE COMMANDER, U.S. MILITARY GROUP, CHILE, ADVISED THE FINANCE CENTER AS FOLLOWS:

"1. A REVIEW OF EXISTING RECORDS REVEALED THAT THE ACTING U.S. ARMY TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT SANTIAGO DID NOT ISSUE A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO MSGT NORMAN L. KEARNS.

"2. THE ACTING TRANSPORTATION OFFICER IN SANTIAGO DID NOT HAVE ON DECEMBER 1965 NOR HAS NOW AUTHORITY TO ISSUE A GTR FOR OCEAN TRANSPORTATION. SUCH AUTHORITY MUST BE GRANTED BY COMPONENT SERVICES IN THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT AT THE TIME MSGT KEARNS RETURNED TO CONTINENTAL U.S., OCEAN TRAVEL FROM CHILE TO THE U.S. HAD BEEN PROHIBITED BY HQ USARSO.

"THERE IS NO RECORD THAT MSGT NORMAN L. KEARNS REQUESTED AUTHORITY FROM HQ U.S. ARMY FORCES SOUTHERN COMMAND TO UTILIZE OCEAN TRANSPORTATION ON HIS RETURN TRIP TO CONUS.'

ON THE BASIS OF THAT REPORT IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT OCEAN TRAVEL FROM CHILE TO THE UNITED STATES HAD BEEN RESTRICTED BY HEADQUARTERS U.S. ARMY FORCES SOUTHERN COMMAND AND WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FURNISHED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. THUS, THE BASIS FOR REFUSING A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR YOUR OCEAN TRAVEL FROM SANTIAGO APPARENTLY WAS NOT BECAUSE OF THE RESTRICTION ON ADVANCE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL TO A HOME OF SELECTION UPON RETIREMENT, BUT WAS BASED ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTION ON TRAVEL BY VESSEL FROM CHILE TO THE UNITED STATES. HOWEVER, THERE WAS NO SUCH RESTRICTION ON AIR TRAVEL FROM CHILE, IT BEING ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT AN AUTHORIZED MODE OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THAT COUNTRY TO THE UNITED STATES WAS COMMERCIAL AIR, TOURIST CLASS, FROM SANTIAGO TO A RATE- FAVORABLE GATEWAY IN CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND THAT YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED SUCH TRANSPORTATION TO MIAMI AT A COST OF $263.

SECTION 404 (C) OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, PROVIDES THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER WHO IS RETIRED WITH PAY MAY, NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE HE IS SO RETIRED, SELECT HIS HOME FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES AND RECEIVE THE ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED BY SUBSECTION (A). THE REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES ARE CONTAINED IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. PARAGRAPH M4158 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER ON ACTIVE DUTY MAY SELECT HIS HOME AND RECEIVE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES THERETO FROM HIS LAST STATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH M4159 UPON RETIREMENT WITH PAY FOLLOWING AT LEAST 8 YEARS' ACTIVE DUTY PROVIDED THAT THE TRAVEL TO THE SELECTED HOME IS COMPLETED WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY.

AS STATED BY YOU, PARAGRAPH M4158 FURTHER PROVIDES THAT ADVANCE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE TO THE SELECTED HOME IS NOT AUTHORIZED. UNDER THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS, A MEMBER WHO IS DISCHARGED OR RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY AND OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE IS ENTITLED TO A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FROM HIS LAST DUTY STATION TO HIS HOME OF RECORD OR THE PLACE FROM WHICH ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY, AS HE MAY ELECT, AND SUCH ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE UPON DISCHARGE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE OF SUCH TRAVEL. PARAGRAPH M4158 DOES NOT PERMIT SUCH A PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO A HOME OF SELECTION UPON RETIREMENT UNTIL AFTER THE TRAVEL HAS BEEN PERFORMED. THE LATTER PROVISION, HOWEVER, DOES NOT RELATE TO ADVANCE ISSUANCE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS RETURNING THE MEMBER TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH ORDINARILY ARE FURNISHED UPON REQUEST. PARAGRAPH M4159-5-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CITED BY YOU, RELATES SPECIFICALLY TO PAYMENT OF MILEAGE COMPUTED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE BASIS FROM APPROPRIATE PORTS OF DEBARKATION TO THE PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES TO WHICH THE MEMBER ELECTS (HOME OF RECORD OR PLACE FROM WHICH ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY) UPON SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE OR RELIEF FROM ACTIVE DUTY OVERSEAS WHEN NO TRAVEL IS PERFORMED INCIDENT TO SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE. IT DOES NOT APPLY, HOWEVER, IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER WHO IS RETIRED AND ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL TO A HOME OF HIS SELECTION.

PARAGRAPH M4158-4B1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT IF A GOVERNMENT VESSEL OR AIRCRAFT WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL, BUT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WERE AVAILABLE TO THE MEMBER, REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL AT PERSONAL EXPENSE WILL NOT EXCEED THE COST HAD THE GOVERNMENT FURNISHED THE TRANSPORTATION. THE APPROPRIATE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS FOR DETERMINATION BY THE SERVICE CONCERNED. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR AIR TRAVEL WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED SINCE THE FILE CONTAINS A STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED COMMERCIAL AIR FROM SANTIAGO, CHILE, TO MIAMI, FLORIDA, A RATE-FAVORABLE GATEWAY TO THE UNITED STATES. THEREFORE, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 19, 1967, ON THAT BASIS WAS CORRECT. ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT IS SUSTAINED.